Tag Archives: challenge

Abstract Floral


At times I think ” The Art Sherpa” is silly, and then I realize silly is a way of having fun, not taking ourselves too seriously, and learn in the process.  All in all I like the flowers and stems and the way they turned out.  At times I wondered why I was spending so much time listening to something so frivolous!  This is a way of relaxing,, and having fun. Sometimes wasting time being silly has huge benefits for those of us that take things too seriously.

I hope you get something out of this, maybe it just triggers a thought or technique you had forgotten.  Have fun with it…

Doyley Printing


Today being the 1st of March, I thought something totally different, at least for me, would be in order.  When I was a kid my mother would make little cards out of paper stock and wax paper.  She would cut the  wax  paper to the small size of the card stock, and press on top of the wax with dried pressed flowers in between.  They would be tied with a small bow after using a whole punch in two places, and they were so sweet.  All her friends loved them, and I loved them also.

This is a little different but it reminded me of mother using wax paper to create her cards.  Probably because of the iron.  Since this is so different from anything I have been doing, and I liked the art he created more as a start than anything else, I thought you may like to see this method of encaustic.

Even if you don’t want to try it, there is a good chance it will trigger something in your creative memory to inspire you to go further.  I’d love to see it, and I’m sure if you could post it on Facebook we would  all be able to see it.  Don’t forget to mention my name so it actually gets to us all.  Karen Samenow!

Thank you all for watching, and keep creating……

Thursday Time Out for Art!

Abstract Mixed Media

Abstract Mixed Media

A Little of This and…A little of that!

This  little 12″ X 12″ canvas is the result of experimenting with wild abandon.   For me….It’s a miracle!  Some little thing in my brain stretched, and twisted, and turned until I was pulling all kinds of things from the dark corners of my studio, and this was the result.  My “PLAN,” would be to continually be creative in this direction.  That’s my plan, but we all know, sometimes the best plans don’t always turn out the way we had planned.  

I had so much fun with this one that it’s presently sitting in the Escondido Municipal Gallery for a show.  If my muse sticks around and I treat her with lots of goodies, maybe I can pull more off, enough to continue growing and creating in a non-objective abstract way!  One can only hope right?

My inspiration frequently comes from many directions.  I see colors I love together in fabric stores, or I watch a video and they are using something new I haven’t experimented with yet.  I get much inspiration from Zebra Design & Destinations.  Z lives in Equator, and not just paints, but creates on many levels.  I’m in awe of how she lives and creates. Cathy Carey has been a huge influence with style and color.  Bob Burridge for his fun and loose abstracts, and still I struggle.  If you look long enough, you can find artists that really touch something in your heart, and can learn from.  Regardless of what their medium, or style, I find there is always something to be learned.

I hope you like my mixed media abstract, with any luck at all…and the creeks don’t rise,  I can do more, show you more, and trigger something in you that says, “Wow, I should try that or maybe I could use this combination, or turn it a different way.”  Maybe there will be something you see, and it triggers something you had forgotten and wanted to try.

It’s all good….It’s all ART!

Let Go & Fly Free…..


Recently I’ve found on YouTube a video I hadn’t expected.  It turned out to be abstract by watercolor videos by Millie Gift Smith.  Now you’re probably saying…..big deal!  But before I realized she was using watercolor, I thought she was starting with a few strokes of w/c to get a few lights into her work, and adding acrylic…paint, and ink later.  After watching several of her demos, I realized that primarily everything is on 140# Arches Watercolor paper.

Since I painted with watercolor for years, and all my early lessons were from w/c teachers, I was fascinated at Millie’s abstract style with only paper and w/c.   I’ve struggled for years to loosen up, and let everything go.  Watercolors to me became to slow, to dry, to perfect, and too much care had to be taken not to blend the wrong colors.  All my teachers were Purists, and so that’s what I learned to do.   I wouldn’t dare cross over the purest line!  Those early teachings are what I struggle to overcome today  each time I pick up a brush!

Since I’m pretty much a nonconformist, I could only take “the rules of WaterColor for so long!”  Longer than even I could imagine, but I kept hanging in there, trying to find new ways of speeding up the drying time on a painting that was too large to put into the clothes dryer on a shelf.  Eventually I got to the point where experimentation brought me to acrylics and oils, but mostly acrylics.  I love to push the boundaries, try new ideas, use  untraditional items in my creativity process.

I bring Millie’s Series II to you because all the time I was watching, my mind kept going to Acrylic Inks.  They are transparent,  dry faster than w/c and since fun is the name of the game, that’s my next thing to work on and try.  Actually since I have boxes of w/c paints, I sometimes mix the pure pigment with a medium to use them up.  That works also!

I hope you too will find some interesting new things to try by watching Millie, and maybe your muse will visit with even more ways to twist and turn your creative energy.   Good luck, and let me know how this artist has pushed you into creating something new and fresh.  Something maybe you hadn’t thought of, or haven’t had the courage to try.  Just remember….it’s all good…the worst that can happen, is you Gesso over all of it and start fresh.

I have never believed in mistakes, and have always thought them instead to be learning experiences.  I also don’t believe in throwing away what I consider my bad art!  To an artist, we all question our own work, that’s healthy, and another opportunity to learn more.  Having a few people in a group to critique one another is also a huge advantage.  Sometimes the most obvious fixes to one of my pieces is someone on our critique group who is  an artist who works in a different medium.  She had a really good eye for color, and balance even though she doesn’t paint.

What one would call a mistake, I would consider an opportunity to  be more creative!

How to Start an Abstract


I recently posted a blog on abstract painting, and I probably will continue to do this until I’m satisfied with my own abstracts.  If you look at me in my studio, I’m always trying to figure out how to balance the kind of look that I really love to see, with the look of realism.  There are a few things I really feel have influenced me, and one is the Impressionist movement, such as Van Gough, Monae, to name a few.  I also love very abstract like Picasso, or even Motherwell.   The question is, can you blend them in such a way that they are fun, and still pleasant to look at.   Do they need to be pleasant?  Or is it better to leave the viewer with a little uncomfortable feeling?  All these things run through my mind while I’m working on what was supposed to be “Really Abstract.”

As I watch these teaching videos, it is obvious that it’s all very subjective.  Some artists just love  painting non-objective abstract that is busy.  To them it tells a story just like this video. Jillian is very much an intuitive abstract painter.  Her work is busy, colorful, and she loves it!  My son Chris is the same way.  His art is all  intuitive and in explaining his art, it always has a story to tell.  To me it becomes a sometimes a little difficult to digest and understand.  Some of it I fall in love with, and some of it, well…….lets just say it’s not my favorite!

We all have our own way of expressing ourselves, and both Jillian, and Chris express in a similar way.  Is it wrong?  Shouldn’t we all be able to express our creativity the way we wish?  Can anyone explain it’s validity besides the artist?   It definitely takes a different kind of viewer to appreciate this kind of abstract art, but that doesn’t make it bad, it only makes it different as it should be.  It pushes us past our comfort level, and in doing so, we just may become better at our own art.  After all, if we were all alike, life would be more than boring, and who would we have conversations about.  Isn’t art here to make us think, and stretch ourselves.  We can’t grow as painters, or viewers if there isn’t something to learn from……